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No Better Hope Than Heaven

Heaven Hope Resurrection

Source: "Inside the Funeral Homes Posing The Dead Like They're Still Alive" by Drew Schwartz

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Rod Crowell | Date Posted: 2018-08-14

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:9 ; 2 Corinthians 5:4

Author: Rod Crowell / Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

It's called "extreme embalming"--posing the deceased, not in a casket, but sitting or standing up, with the appropriate supports of course.  It might be the body of an 18-year-old young man, slumped in an office chair with a PS4 controller in his hand, as if he were playing his favorite game NBA2K--with favorite snacks at hand.  Or, a boxer propped up at the far end of a makeshift ring, in his robe and gloves.  Or a Southern belle socialite, sitting on a bench in designer clothes, with a feather boa, her hand cradling a champagne flute.

This is how their families wanted to remember them; frozen in a fond memory.

APPLICATION

When we lose a heavenly focus, it's natural to cling to the experiences of this life.  We look back instead forward.  We choose denial of the reality of death over hope in the reality of heaven. 

However, if we believe in Jesus who is the Resurrection and the LIfe, and trust Him to pay for the sin which condemns us to mortality, then we can look forward with confidence to something far better than a posed funeral service--to an eternity too wonderful to even imagine!

"But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). 

Heaven Series--Surprise #1: Heaven Has A Physical Dimension!

Heaven Series God's Care Heaven

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-24

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:3

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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ILLUSTRATION

One of the most pervasive misperceptions about Heaven is that it is a purely ethereal, non-physical place—a place where disembodied spirits float around in an immaterial dimension, presumably playing harps! Some don’t even consider it a place at all, but have reduced it to a state of mind!

But this is not the Heaven described in the Bible.

Perhaps the strongest argument for a physical dimension to Heaven is the fact that Jesus is there right now, physically, in His resurrected body. And it’s not just Jesus who took a body with him into Heaven; the Bible tells us that Enoch and Elijah were also transported there in their physical bodies (Hebrews 11:5; 2 Kings 2:11). 

So the Bible makes it clear that there are at least three people presently in Heaven who have a human, physical form. This strongly suggests that there must be a dimension to Heaven that makes accommodation for embodied people—that it’s not just an ethereal, non-physical place.

Adding a bit more food for thought is the fact that the Bible describes the Tree of Life (pun intended), first mentioned as being physically present in the earthly Garden of Eden, as now physically existing and producing fruit in Heaven.

Reason also supports the idea of a physical dimension to Heaven. Consider the following illustration:

Let’s say you’ve been invited to have dinner at the mansion of a friend who happens to be incredibly wealthy, with maids and butlers and cooks available at his beckoned call.

On the night of the engagement, as you’re in route, your car suddenly starts to sputter and then comes to an abrupt halt, stranding you nearly a mile from your destination. So you decide to walk the rest of the way.

With just a couple of blocks to go you hear a loud thunder clap, and the next thing you know you’re overtaken by high winds and driving rain.

As you bolt to get out of the torrential downpour, you stumble and take a hard spill on the sidewalk, badly scraping your knee. Moments later you arrive, soaked through to the bone and bleeding. Your host, happy to see you, quickly ushers you in from the storm.

But then your friend does the most bizarre thing. Actually, it’s what he doesn’t do that’s so surprising. Although he sees your terrible condition, and hears your shoes squishing and squeaking as you pass through the foyer, he makes no effort to respond to your obvious needs. No towel with which to dry off is offered, no clothes to replace the ones that are torn and wet, and no bandage is forthcoming for your injured knee. Instead, he invites you directly to the dining room where you spend the rest of the evening in his lovely home over a sumptuous meal, all the while dripping, shivering, and bleeding.

APPLICATION

Here’s the point: The expectation most people have of Heaven bears an important similarity to the way the guest was treated by his thoughtless host. For although we anticipate God ushering us into the most amazing accommodations imaginable, most of us don’t expect that He will pay much attention to our physical condition. After all, it won’t just be warm clothing or a bandage for a scraped knee that we’ll be lacking, but our very bodies!

Think about how utterly absurd it would be to finally stand in the presence of the One Who loves you more than any other, of the One Who promises you a perfect Heaven, and to lack anything, let alone your entire body! Such an idea is not only an insult to God, it demeans Heaven itself—as though Heaven would offer us anything less than what we enjoyed on earth.

The possession of a physical body is a critical component of being human. The notion that we would exist in an incomplete state while in the presence of God makes God less, it makes Heaven less, and it makes us less.

Does this make sense to you? I hope so. But I must also humbly admit that just because something makes sense to me doesn’t mean that it is necessarily true. As the Bible reminds us, "’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8). That being so, we turn to the Scripture for a final word.

There are actually many passages that assert that there are physical dimensions to Heaven, but none address the issue of our need for a physical body as directly as 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (NLT), which reads, “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee, he has given us his Holy Spirit.”

Here we have a decisive statement by an Apostle who not only visited Heaven, he came back to tell us “we will not be spirits without bodies.” So, according to these verses, there aren’t just three people with physical bodies in Heaven—rather, every person in Heaven will be made whole and complete

Heaven Series--Surprise #2: Earth Was Intended To Be Our Heaven!

Heaven Heaven Series God's Immutability

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-24

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:13 ; Matthew 5:5

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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ILLUSTRATION

In an effort to avoid the expense of buying a new vehicle, I once bought an older van and replaced the engine. In my mind, this would be the next best thing to having a new van. My plan was working like a charm until the transmission starting slipping. Shortly after I replaced my transmission, the drive shaft literally fell off while I was driving down the highway. The problems cascaded into a series of minor and not so minor issues until I finally couldn’t afford my van anymore. I sold it for a fraction of what I had put into it just to stop the bleeding. Sometimes things don’t turn out according to our plans. That’s because, being human, our best intentions are often flawed. 

We must be careful, however, not to superimpose this same limitation on God. Unlike us, God’s intentions are always perfect. So perfect that God Himself can’t even improve upon them. This is a very powerful principle. To observe just how powerful, take note of everything God has ever intended to do and you’ll discover a very significant pattern. When God intends to do something, one way or another, it always happens.

Take the subject matter at hand as an example. To discover what Heaven will be like, all we really have to do is take note of God’s original intentions. After God created the universe and everything in it, the Bible says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). That means everything was exactly how God intended it to be. Man was granted dominion over a perfect world. There was no death, no sickness, no sin and no struggle—just as God intended.

So, what would have happened had Adam and Eve never eaten the forbidding fruit? Presumably, mankind would have lived forever in an earthly paradise. Fruit and vegetable bearing plants would have thrived instead of weeds. Man would have leisurely enjoyed exercising dominion over God’s creation. The animal kingdom would have lived in submission to man as its caretaker, enjoying peace and harmony within itself. But sadly, man sinned, and paradise was lost forever. Or was it?

APPLICATION

To you and me, intentions are just intentions. We set out with the best of them, but when things don’t work out, we simply change our plans (our intentions) and move on. Not so with God. God’s intentions are perfect, which means they can’t be improved upon, and thus they never have to be changed.

So, taking that logic into account, if Earth was intended to by our Heaven—if that was God’s original intent—shouldn’t we expect that Earth will end up being our Heaven? Exactly! The Bible begins with God creating Earth to be man’s eternal abode and the Bible ends with God returning to His original plan by creating a New Earth to be man’s eternal abode. The Bible ends where it began, with God coming back to His original plan!

The fall of man didn’t negate God’s original intentions; it just delayed them for a while. Right now, you and I live in a pause period, a period of redemption where God seeks to save those who are lost due to the fall of man. When redemptive history is complete, the moment the last of mankind has been resurrected and judged (Revelation 20:11-15), God will go back to His original plan! In fact, it’s in the very next verse that the Apostle John wrote, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared” (Revelation 21:1).

The Apostle Peter put it this way, “But we are looking forward to the new heavens and the new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

Several hundred years earlier, the great prophet Isaiah recorded God making this same promise: "See, I will create new heavens and a new earth …” (Isaiah 65:17). Despite the fall of man, God’s original plan will be fulfilled!

None of this should be a surprise to us. Jesus, in the most famous sermon ever delivered, The Sermon on the Mount, promised, “The meek … shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Notice, according to Jesus, our eternal inheritance won’t be a harp and a cloud; it won’t be an ethereal abode. It will be Earth itself!

So, regardless of what you’ve heard about Heaven, God’s clear promise to you is that one day the “New Earth” will be your Heaven!!

Heaven Series--Surprise #3: Heaven And Earth Will Be Merged!

Heaven Series Heaven Prophecy

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-24

Scripture: Ephesians 1:10 ; Revelation 21:2

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Cousin Craziness

Heaven Relationships Church/Body of Christ

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-08-21

Scripture: Matthew 12:49

Author: Illustration Exchange
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One Strange Looking Carrot

God's Promises Heaven Reward

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-08-17

Scripture: Matthew 19:29 ; Revelation 21:5

Author: Illustration Exchange
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A Rich Man Brings A Suitcase To Heaven

Materialism Heaven Humor

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-07-18

Scripture: Mark 10:21

Author: Unknown
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Teenager Calls 911 To Avoid Vacation

Servanthood Heaven Self-absorbed

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-02-06

Scripture: Matthew 20:28

Author: Illustration Exchange
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I'm Dead. I'm Sure of It!

Aging Heaven Humor

Contributed By: Larry Lewis | Date Posted: 2017-02-01

Scripture: Revelation 21:4 ; Galatians 5:24

Author: unknown
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Billy Graham's New Suit

Heaven Assurance Eternal Life

Contributed By: Paul Lingren | Date Posted: 2016-07-30

Scripture: John 11:25 ; John 6:40

Author: Billy Graham
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